What is Adobe Sign?
Adobe Sign is a cloud-based e-signature service. With it, you can send, sign, track, and manage signature processes using a browser or mobile device. It can be installed as a workflow entirely unto itself, or incorporated into existing workflows and systems. As a digital solution for all documents requiring a signature, Adobe Sign helps reduce paper waste, cut down on time spent sending and receiving documents, eliminate the need to fax or scan documents, and save space by abolishing physical documentation.
Click here to see a brief promotional video on Adobe Sign.
How does Adobe Sign work?
Because Adobe Sign is a cloud-based service, there are many ways to work with it. All Adobe Sign plans let you work in a web browser or mobile app to send, sign, track, and manage signature processes. Adobe Sign can also be used inside other applications. Individual users can send documents for signature and perform other tasks while working in popular business productivity apps like Microsoft Office 365 Word and PowerPoint, as well as Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
Furthermore, Adobe Sign lets businesses use turnkey integrations and APIs to add e-signature workflows to your enterprise apps and systems of record, such as Microsoft SharePoint and Dynamics 365, Salesforce, Workday, Ariba, Apttus, and many more.
Can I use Adobe Sign on my phone?
Yes. There's a free Adobe Sign app that allows users to conduct complete business transactions. You can send, sign, track, and manage signed documents from your iOS (Apple) or Android device. It’s also the ideal tool for collecting e-signatures in person from a client or customer. On iOS devices, you can even sign documents offline. The app syncs automatically when you’re back online.
You can use the app to do in-person signing from anywhere. In addition to drawing your signature on your mobile device, the Adobe Sign mobile app lets you use your device camera to take a photo of your handwritten signature, then use it to sign a document. Your signature is automatically synchronized across web and mobile so you can access your signature image any time.
What about the legality of electronic signatures?
Electronic signatures are legally binding in nearly every industrialized nation, and even less-developed countries are beginning to enact e-signature laws. In 2000, the United States passed the ESIGN Act, making e-signatures legal for virtually all uses. In 1999, the European Union passed an electronic signature directive that member states used as the foundation for country-specific laws. In 2016, the European Union's eIDAS set of regulations took effect in all 28 member states, creating a single, standardized regulation. Other countries have enacted similar laws as well. To learn more, read the Global Guide to Electronic Signature Law.
Adobe Sign meets or exceeds stringent security and legal compliance standards. It is certified compliant with ISO 27001, SSAE SOC 2 Type 2, FedRAMP Tailored, and PCI DSS. Additionally, Adobe Sign can be configured or used in a manner to allow organizations to meet industry-specific compliance requirements such as HIPAA, FERPA, GLBA, and FDA 21 CFR Part 11. Please note that customers are ultimately responsible to ensure that Adobe Sign is configured and secured in a manner that allows the organization to comply with industry-specific legal obligations.
What are electronic signatures?
An electronic signature is more or less exactly what it sounds like, a signature you can apply to a document through electronic means. Also called e-signatures, electronic signatures are not the same thing as digital signatures. A digital signature is a way of encrypting a message to ensure its veracity. To use a more technical definition, "A digital signature is a mathematical scheme for verifying the authenticity of digital messages or documents. A valid digital signature gives a recipient reason to believe that the message was created by a known sender (authentication), that the sender cannot deny having sent the message (non-repudiation), and that the message was not altered in transit (integrity)."
Some features and benefits of e-signatures, as listed on the official Adobe Sign FAQ:
- Apply to the entire document – If a paper contract has two or more pages and the signature is applied only to a single page, unsigned pages could be changed without anyone's knowledge. With Adobe Sign, a cryptographic binding is applied to the entire document before delivering a PDF of the final, signed document to all parties, creating a certified document with a tamper-evident seal. If any information changes on any page, Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader software display a notification that the document’s certification is no longer valid.
- Can be tracked and managed efficiently – Electronic signature processes driven by Adobe Sign provide complete visibility into the signature process, letting you keep track of document status in real time, get notified when your documents are signed, and send reminders as needed.
- Can't be duplicated with a copier or scanner – It's too easy to forge a paper signature by copying it, scanning it, or tracing it with a pen. With Adobe Sign, a signature is bound to a specific instance of the document and tracked as part of a multi-step signature process.
- Can't be backdated – With paper signatures, signers are free to enter any date or time they choose, making it possible for one of the parties to change the "active” date of the signing without notifying other parties. With Adobe Sign, the time is centrally managed by the hosted service and backdating is not allowed.
- Are much easier to authenticate – Authenticating a paper signature requires another handwritten signature from the same signer for forensic comparison. If additional signature samples aren't available, authenticity can't be proven. With Adobe Sign, multiple authentication methods can be applied to guarantee the identity of people signing documents.
- Are similar to using a notary, but without the hassle – Paper signatures can be made more secure if you work with a trusted third party like a notary, but the in-person signing ceremony adds costs and delays to the signing process.
- Reduce the costs and hassles of long-term storage – Electronic document storage is less expensive than renting floor space for paper filing cabinets. If documents need to be retrieved, the task can be done with simple search commands. And documents can be sent to the requesting party in moments, instead of by fax or overnight mail.
- Prevent documents from being defaced – Paper documents can be defaced when signers cross out text in the document. Electronic signature processes driven by Adobe Sign protects the integrity of the original document so information cannot be hidden or removed.